Continuing on in my Month of Thanks, here is my letter for October 9th.
To Jamie Dagdigian and Allison Foo,
It is a rare and happy occurrence when a person finds one individual who so completely shapes their chosen career paths. It is miraculous to find two.
Allison, I was blessed with the opportunity to be hired by you shortly after relocating to Sasebo, Japan. I have no idea what my competition looked like, but I knew the moment I heard you speak at the indoc for newcomers to the base that you were a person I had to know. You gave me the chance I needed; to test out how I would fare in the world of Photoshop outside of military forms.
By giving me that chance, you set me on a path that has endlessly enriched my life. You were not only my boss, but my friend, my teacher, and my inspiration. With everything I created, I wanted it to be better than the last, something that would make you proud of what you’d passed on to me. You demonstrated such a passion for your work, how could anyone not want to follow in your footsteps? I spent one ridiculously awesome year working for you when I made the decision to go back to school. As much as I loved my job, and loved working in your department, I knew I had to think about what would happen when the inevitable move came. That was a hard decision, but I believe it was the right one.
Jamie, I can’t begin to express how grateful I am to have been one of your students at MPC. Your instruction is easily some of the most insightful, useful, creative time I’ve ever had the privilege to experience firsthand. Students walk away not only with an understanding of the course material, but of precisely how to apply it within the real world. Your feedback on my work was always honest and in-depth and made everything I did better for having your suggestions.
Your flexibility and willingness to work with me one-on-one when my needs as a student were a little outside the normal progression of your program demonstrated precisely why you are unmatched as a teacher in my secondary education experience. There was nothing I looked forward to so much as the Independent Study sessions where I could force you to look at my design projects and get your suggestions. My only complaint is that sometimes I think you were a little too nice. I look back at those initial projects now and wonder how you could have let some of my mistakes slide. Still, your positivity always guided me down the right road and provided an excellent example of how things should be done. My work before you and after you are stark contrasts and could not be more different. You listened to where I wanted to go and advised me on how to get there. The skills I learned, and not just the basics of Illustrator, have carried over into my everyday business practices. Your fingerprints are all over my designs as much as they are my client relationships.
For the both of you, I hope it means something in that what you taught me, either formally or informally, will be carried on and paid forward whenever I have the chance. I try to be as giving to others in my knowledge as you were in yours. It’s a small demonstration, but I don’t think there will ever be a large enough one to tell you how thankful I am for knowing you both.